Using Stillness meditation to increase creativity in the workplace
Creativity is of such value to our species as it is the engine to invention and the development of new ideas! It can be defined as a psychological process that facilitates transitions into desired future states. It is also defined as the combination of existing ideas to form something with a different practicality. This blogpost outlines just how Stillness meditation can increase creativity.
- Creativity is sometimes defined by the number of new and original thoughts
- Being in a better mood is proven to help performance, fluency & creativity
- Incubation is key to creativity also
- Stillness is a tool to change states of mind and inspire positive affect (mood)
- Gratitude is linked to positive affect
How can we introduce more creativity into our lives?
This blog post explores clinically proven ways to increase creativity with cutting edge research looking into emotional states and its influence on creativity.
Teresa Amabile, Sigal G. Barsade, Jennifer S. Mueller, and B. Staw formed the dream team of workplace research chiming in from Harvard, Wharton, NYU and Berkeley respectively. Some heavy resumes individually, even more scary when combined!
Anyway, they conducted a study looking at how your emotional affect (your general mood) affects creativity. Their results yielded two very interesting findings.
A positive mood enhances creativity
Firstly, being in a good mood significantly increases your creative ability. It was found to broaden attention and also cognitive flexibility which are two leading factors to creative ideas and insight. This leads to more elements (more thoughts / ideas) considered as important to a problem.
Ultimately, this folds smoothly into the definition of creativity as what results from shaping existing ideas to be of new use. Having more things to choose from (cognitive flexibility / broader attention) means more components are considered.
Rest heightens creativity
Getting good rest was another key finding. After spending a day in a good mood, getting one or two great night’s sleep will increase creativity! This had a diminishing effect after 3 days of good rest – called an “incubation period”.
These findings may seem intuitive but it is always useful to have them confirmed in a laboratory setting. This holds far more weight and validation especially when shaping policies in the workplace! Being able to point to rigorous and thorough research creates a logical underpinning for establishing constructive norms.
Why increase creativity in the workplace
All jobs to one degree or another, rely on creativity and the combination of novel ideas! Increasing the likelihood of your team being in those states is vital. Even if you don’t class your job as necessarily “creative”, it really is the mindset that is better able to form novel ideas. Satisfaction tends to accompany these states. So, keeping people rested and in a good mood will only build towards the longevity of your workplace.
How do you increase positive affect (good moods)?
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
In one study, simply thanking employees was shown to increase productivity:
“During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.” – Harvard Health
Stillness meditation increases creativity.
What is the fastest way to improving your mood and sleep? We’d like to suggest Stillness. When Still, you are free from distracting thoughts and you solely feel “what is.” That is pretty amazing when you’re feeling 37.2 trillion cells working symbiotically to keep you breathing. That’s an easy number to “think” about but a very different one to actually feel.
After a few days of Getting Still, start to observe your work. You may notice an improvement in your mood or perhaps your ideas start to become a little more interesting and effective! If you want to learn more about the process of Getting Still (the how’s, the why’s, etc.) check out the Foundations course in the app.
The Sleep feature of the app is particularly useful for the incubation portion of increasing creativity. Stillness is an extremely effective gateway into high quality sleep, read more about Sleep here!
One of the professors research, Sigal Barsade from Wharton, will be focus of the next blog post talking about how emotions are shared between colleagues in the workplace (emotional contagion)
Download the app: Still Life: Meditation & Sleep
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